Issue 12.4, November 1997

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Essay Excerpt

"Anthropology is emerging in societies that until recently were only objects of anthropological attention. The main agents of anthropology's diffusion outsideits traditional centers are non- or semi-Westerners trained in Euro-American institutions. In general, U.S. anthropologists have paid more attention than Europeans to issues concerning the situation of "native" or "indigenous" anthropologists. In the 1970s, discussions about native anthropologists focused primarily on their relative capacity to achieve a neutral or objective perspective and on their relative ease of access to "inside" information. Moreover, there have been many assertions that native anthropologists, and especially scholars "of color," infuse the discipline with politically relevant questions and perspectives, which derive from their own positionality and experience. In fact, many of the arguments sustaining this view have been central to critiques addressing the politics of anthropological knowledge that have been put forth by academics engaged in ethnic or cultural studies in the United States as well as by anthropologists."

From "Students, Natives, Colleagues: Encounters in Academia and in the Field" by Alexandra Bakalaki